It Seems Clear to Me

A Colorado College student finds himself banned from campus for almost two years.  He did not blow up the science building, or attempt to burn down the ROTC building like the SDS and their fellow travels did in earlier times.  His offense was much more egregious.  In response to an on line posting regarding “blackwomenmatter” he replied,  “They matter, they’re just not hot.”  This response was not directed to a specific individual, was not issued as a statement of fact and merely reflected juvenile humor.  

This, despite the fact that the college in its own student guide, “The Pathfinder” clearly states that “all members of the college community have such basic rights as freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of personal beliefs, and freedom from personal force and violence, threats of violence and personal abuse.” Colorado College found Pryor guilty of violating a pair of policies: “Abusive Behavior” and “Disruption of College Activities.”

The student, Thaddeus Pryor is appealing the decision. My suspicion is that there is no right to a hearing prior to the school rendering a decision. The ability to challenge the school comes into play once the decision is made, in the form of an appeal. Pryor’s fate has attracted the attention of several organizations  and attorneys who take an interest in campus free speech issues.  Like bullies everywhere I don’t expect the school to stand up to the challenge.  Look for a compromise where Pryor is required to stand in the corner for fifteen minutes.

In the finest tradition of Soviet style show trials the school will then be able to claim that their actions were proper and their interpretation of the rules was correct. They will claim that the whole chain of events succeeded in reeducating Mr. Pryor.  Pryor will be back in school without interruption. Mr. Pryor’s attorneys will also declare victory and in the end nothing will have been solved, just handled.

Colorado College is a private school.  It also receives Title 9 funding.  There is case law that seems to indicate that acceptance of Title 9 funding puts private institutions on the same footing as state agencies. That means that administrators and the school can be held to the same standard as police officers. Police officers are sued all the time when they violate a suspect’s civil rights.  The civil rights statute basically says government and government agents can’t do mean nasty things to citizens.  It means that when the jack booted thugs of political correctness cross the line acting in their official capacity as college administrators they and their institution can be sued.

Pryor’s civil rights have been violated.  He has been punished for publishing a comment that falls squarely under the First Amendment and according to the school handbook is allowed.  He has been subjected to false charges that cannot be substantiated. He may or may not have received due process in the application of so called justice.  Under 42 U.S.C. 1983 there may be civil remedies available to Pryor and other students.

The college wanted to make an example of Mr. Pryor.  Fine, let Mr. Pryor sue the shit out of the school and prevail and they will have their example.

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